Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced his Syriza government’s resignation on August 20, about seven months since taking office on January 26, to open the way for early parliamentary elections on September 20 – a move prompted by losing his majority in the Hellenic parliament.
In a live televised address, Tsipras said that he would see Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos to hand in his resignation, confirming publicly what had been expected in past days, that Greeks would be called again to the polls in fresh elections.
The announcement of the resignation came on the evening of the day that Greece made a 3.4 billion euro due payment to the European Central Bank, just hours after European officials disbursed 13 billion euro funding from the European Stability Mechanism that will help Athens stay afloat and pay down its debt.
About 43 of Syriza’s 149 MPs had either opposed the bailout or abstained in last Friday’s Greek parliamentary vote that approved the deal, the BBC reported.
The rebellion meant that Tsipras had effectively lost his parliamentary majority.
Tsipras has been in office as the head of a coalition government made up largely of Syriza with a deal with the rightwing, anti-austerity party Independent Greeks (Anel).
The resignation of the government procedurally opens the way for a mandate to seek to form a government to be handed to the next-largest party, conservative New Democracy, but it was not expected that ND would take up the offer.
This in turn would open the way for the president of Greece’s supreme court, Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou, to take office as caretaker prime minister pending the formation of a government after the elections.
(Photo of Tsipras: EC Audiovisual Service)